Audi A8 vs Mercedes-Benz S-Class

Both cars are undeniable leaders in the luxury car segment. Both have their fans and admirers. Both are flagships of their brands. Both the A8 and the S-Class are gorgeous, stylish, truly luxury sedans, well-packaged and equipped with the newest systems and tools. But anyone who has ever bought a luxury car knows perfectly well how difficult it is to choose such a car. Which one is better? Which one should you buy? When choosing a luxury car, it’s not about price or at least it is not the major factor. We have decided to compare the 4th generation Audi A8 of the 2017 model year (D5) and the 6th generation Mercedes-Benz S-Class after the restyling in 2017 (body number 222). Both cars were released in 2017, and both were delivered to Israel until 2021. However, in 2021, their updated versions were released. We are going to compare those versions when we know more about them.

Driving style

For those who prefer travelling on the backseat, we could clearly recommend the Mercedes-Benz S-Class, especially the longer version. But now there is also the 4th generation Audi A8, which was released in 2017. It has everything you need and even a little more than everything, including foot massage. For those who wanted to drive their car personally, the Audi A8 of the previous generations was not the best choice in the past, as the person behind the wheel was perceived not as an owner, but as a personal driver. However, with the arrival of the new generation A8, especially the long-wheelbase version, there is little doubt that the owner of this elegant car is behind the wheel (only if you are not in a jacket and tie, of course). But Mercedes, for its part, tried to do everything so that the driver could feel comfortable as possible, and not just the rear passenger, as it was before.

Audi A8 2017. Sedan, 4 generation.

The new generation Audi A8 is perfect for driving without a personal driver. You just need to personally enjoy its beautiful aesthetics, an excellent air suspension, which is not only able to raise the body by 12 cm, but also provides a huge (5,300 mm long) sedan with the characteristics of a sports coupe, and the classic quattro all-wheel drive, which is not only different from any other 4×4 system, but is also the recognized and incomparable trump card of Audi. Moreover, its 340-horsepower engine ensures acceleration to 100 km/h in just 5.6 seconds for a conventional body and in 5.7 seconds in an elongated one. And the feeling of this acceleration is best experienced when driving personally.

Mercedes-Benz S-Class 2017. Sedan Long, 6 generation, restyling.

But at the same time, even the ‘weakest’ S-Class with a 249 hp diesel engine accelerates to 100 km/h in 5.8 seconds, whereas a 4-liter V8 turbocharged engine, installed on a longer version of the all-wheel drive sedan, is able to accelerate the car in just 3.5 seconds. Mercedes-Benz also offers an all-wheel drive system. Just like the A8, the model has an active air suspension, which can provide you with exceptional driving characteristics and improve comfort. By the way, in terms of comfort: the S-Class suspension is a little friendlier to passengers. The car moves smoother. The active suspension Magic Body Control is able to raise the body in a fraction of a second in front of road bumps, so the smoothness of the luxury sedan from Stuttgart is unattainable for competitors.

The Audi A8's dynamic all-wheel drive system adds stability to the sedan at speed and simplifies maneuvering at low speeds. This happens, among other things, due to the active steering of the rear axle wheels. But, again, it’s impossible to say that because of this, the Audi A8 is head and shoulders above the S-Class. Plus, this system is not available in all trim levels, but comes as an option, and an expensive one.

Comfort, interior and space

The 2017 restyled version of the new Mercedes S-Class can hardly be called the epitome of sportiness. It is definitely elegant, dynamic, and powerful, but not sporty for sure. Against the background of the A8 with its clear lines, the Mercedes looks very brutal. The A8, on the contrary, despite its dimensions, similar to the dimensions of the S-Class, looks more dynamic and road-hugging (although the difference in height is only 11 mm). If we compare long-wheelbase models, then the S-Class loses to the A8 in terms of the interior capacity and spaciousness, which is especially striking from behind. No, the Mercedes has plenty of legroom for the rear passengers, but the Audi is truly spacious.

Interior of the 2017 Audi A8. Sedan, 4 generation.

Both cars are distinguished by smooth lines, soft color schemes, interior lighting, premium finishes, and comfortable seats. With an entertainment package for rear passengers or massage seats, you don’t want to get out of the car at all. All of this is provided by the Mercedes-Benz S-Class, but the same package of options can also be found in the Audi: rear monitors and a remote control in the armrest of the rear seats, through which you can control most of the car’s systems, starting from seat adjustment to multimedia. For the Mercedes, after the door closer tightly presses the door, you can watch the bustle of the world around you as if from a distance, as it is so quiet and comfortable inside.

As for acoustics, the Audi A8 has 23 speakers, whereas the Mercedes S-Class has 24. Both cars offer the sound of very high quality, and the volume of this sound is available to both rear passengers and the driver. This is provided by additional ceiling speakers, of which there are two in the A8, and three in the S-Class. The Audi is equipped with an ANC active noise cancellation system: four microphones in the ceiling pick up noise from the engine and initiate compensation through the speaker system. For the Mercedes, such a system is called VNC.

Interior of the 2017 Mercedes-Benz S-Class. Sedan Long, 6 generation, restyling.

It is particularly pleasant to see the Energizing Comfort Control relaxation system in the Mercedes-Benz S-Class. With the help of one of six programs that control climate control, interior lighting, seat massage, sound system and aromatization, you can instantly tone yourself up or, conversely, relax. The main thing is to keep control of the car. However, even if you have lost touch with reality, one of the electronic assistants will come to the rescue. Actually, that’s exactly why there are so many cameras and radars on board.

Driver’s options

The wealthy owner of an Audi A8 can use a lot of non-obvious entertainment options located at the front, for example, a smart touch screen. Just like an advanced MacBook touchpad, it supports multi-touch interactions. By the way, touch-controlled deflectors are only in front. The rear end is standard: spacious, expensive, rich, but somewhat boring. The S-Class has voice dialing and speech recognition systems (the A8 also has it). There are a lot of commands activated by voice. The systems are even capable of reading an incoming message. Of course, you can set commands manually. For the S-Class this is done via the controller, for the A8 via the two central displays. Moreover, the lower one can also recognize handwritten text. But the Mercedes still has a special Splitview system, thanks to which the driver and front passenger can see two different pictures on the central monitor.

Audi A8 2017. Sedan, 4 generation.

The Mercedes-Benz S-Class features ultra-modern electronics and is devoid of a lot of touch panels and touchscreens, as is done for the Audi. It is a matter of taste. I personally know one owner of the A8, who, like a child, rejoices at the ultra-modern look of the front panel, but at the same time he chose the new 7th generation Mercedes S-Class, released in 2021, as his next car… Maybe that’s why he chose it, as the new S-Class received a 12.8-inch touchscreen instead of the standard center console. Music, microclimate and other functions of the car are now controlled via it. As a result, the S-Class interior has lost 27 physical buttons.

Mercedes-Benz S-Class 2017. Sedan Long, 6 generation, restyling.

But let’s get back to our comparison, as we can also recall the all-round visibility system. For the S-Class, it is implemented according to the usual scheme: you can see what surrounds the car, you can interact with each of the cameras, and you can see the situation as a whole or through a top view. For the A8, you can also look “from a distance”: a three-dimensional model of the car is displayed on the screen, and by rotating it, you can see the picture in 3D from any convenient angle.

Summary

The Audi A8 is not only very comfortable, but also a very technologically sophisticated car. The Mercedes S-Class is perceived as more laid-back, calm, but at the same time comfortable and technologically advanced car with excellent driving characteristics. We must have disappointed you. Since the choice is still unobvious. Therefore, choose ‘with your heart’, but, as you know, tastes differ…

Mercedes S-Class

Mercedes-Benz S-Class 2017. Bodywork, Exterior. Sedan Long, 6 generation, restyling
  • Driving: It invites you to calm driving, but allows you to enjoy the ‘races’
  • Interior: High-quality and expensive materials, but there could be more space in the back
  • Comfort: Air suspension and excellent noise isolation
  • Safety: A wide range of safety systems even in the entry-level version
  • Price: The entry-level model is slightly more expensive

In Israel, the long-wheelbase version of the Mercedes S-Class sedan, which was sold from 2017 to 2020 in the S 560e 367 Ultimate Essence AMG modification, cost 944,731 or 904,631 shekels without AMG styling.

Audi A8

Audi A8 2017. Bodywork, Exterior. Sedan, 4 generation
  • Driving: Excellent handling and excellent dynamics even with the base engine
  • Interior: Spacious, especially in the second row, but restrained cold style is not for everyone
  • Comfort: Excellent due to the large number of options
  • Safety: All possible passive and active safety systems are available
  • Price: The entry-level model is slightly cheaper

In Israel, the regular Audi A8 sedan in the 55 TFSI quattro Tiptronic 340 4×4 Limited modification cost 840,219 shekels. It could be purchased until November 2021, before the release of the restyled version.

Choose the winner!

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